Bassett adds 'worldy experience' to crew
Freshman Corey Bassett’s path to Penn took her across three continents
April 7, 2011, 4:16 am·
Most students at Penn have a pretty clear idea of where they’re from. Most could tell you where they grew up, and most could name a city or a town they go home to for breaks.
But for freshman varsity rower Corey Bassett, the word “home” is a little less concrete, but no less meaningful.
Since she was born, Bassett has lived on three continents, in five different countries and six different cities. Because of her mother’s job at the American Embassy, she has moved every two to three years — from Washington, D.C., to Japan, to New York City to Canada, to Uganda back to Washington, and then to Ethiopia, where her parents currently live.
Bassett caught a break from the constant flux when she started boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in her sophomore year of high school.
It was there that she first discovered crew.
After being cut from the junior varisity soccer team her first year at Exeter, she thought her formal athletic career was over.
“Then someone came up to me and was like, ‘hey, you’re tall and athletic, you should try crew.’” Bassett said.
Whoever made that observation was spot-on: Bassett’s lean, athletic build makes her ideal for a sport that necessitates maximum strength with minimum weight. Furthermore, she exudes an easygoing attitude that translates well to the demanding life of a rower.
From the first time she went out on the water, Bassett was hooked.
“The first thing I really loved about it was that it was an escape, every afternoon just being able to get out in a boat and get on the river. You get to focus on just one thing and be outside,” she said.
The second quality that makes Bassett a successful rower is her work ethic, a quality that is critical to any crew team. The driving desire to win — and to work hard for those wins — is something that pulled Bassett even closer to her high-school team.
“The fact that everyone wanted to win so much,” she said, “is what made us work so hard. And we did win a lot, so it was great to see the results from all our hard work so quickly.”
That work ethic has translated well to a collegiate rowing program. Every morning, Bassett wakes up at 5:26 am to be on the bus to the river by 6:00 am. They practice for two and a half hours and on certain days, they lift for an hour afterward. Then she goes to class, “usually with ice packs somewhere on [her] body,” and makes sure she’s in bed by 10:30 p.m. every night. Saturdays are race days, then everything starts over again.
“My schedule comes from crew,” she said, “which I actually really like. Being on the team keeps me really healthy and forces me to take care of my grades and my body. It forces you to be accountable to not just yourself, but to everyone.”
Her dedication to her sport and her team has greatly contributed to her success so far this season. Bassett said she feels the same drive and desire to win on the Penn team as she did on her high-school team, and she loves feeling that familiar drive to win.
“Everyone on the team has the same goals,” she said, “We all want to win NCAAs this year. It’s great to be a part of a team that is so driven and has so much success.”
She currently rows in the second Varsity Eight, a boat that helped the Quakers achieve this week’s No. 17 ranking, the highest so far in head coach Mike Lane’s tenure at Penn.
“I think her background, her worldly experience growing up has really led to her accomplishments on the water for us,” Lane said. “We expect big things out of her in the future and we’re really excited to have her on the team.”
Basset is similarly committed to the program.
“I never envisioned myself rowing before I started. But now I really can’t imagine my life without it.”